If you can grant prohibitionists anything, at least they’re consistent. Towing the same discredited lines for over 80 years takes a toll and certainly doesn’t help one’s credibility.
Take a recent article in Maclean’s by Michael Friscolanti, as an example.
Now, this is a writer that’s won three awards for investigative journalism and, yet, he presents us with a work that’s so two-dimensional it leaves you wondering if it was generated by a computer.
Friscolanti spins us a story of shady dispensaries, greedy entrepreneurs, and the noble police working tirelessly to protect our children. In this fairy tale, as in every other prohibitionist fiction, the people risking their life, liberty and security to bring needed supplies to willing customers are the villains. Those threatening, assaulting, extorting, robbing and kidnapping them are the heroes.
He actually expects you to believe this demented interpretation of reality.
We’re regaled with quotations from police officers and addiction ‘experts’ explaining their imagined fears about cannabis in order to justify their continued criminality. The victims of their actions, have practically no voice in the entire article.
In one of the most stunning statements in the article, Saskatoon police Chief Clive Weighill, who is also president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said “I’ve never experienced a situation like this where there are pending changes to the law coming, and even before the laws are changed people are stepping ahead of the new regulations, this is a real precedent-setter in Canada.”
This is disturbing because either this decorated officer doesn’t know his own country’s history, or he doesn’t know the meaning of the word “precedent.”
Does Weighill really think that there were no dispensaries opening up in Canada before the government’s commitment to ending prohibition? Does he really think there’s never been mass civil-disobedience in this country?
There’s only one thing, and one thing only, that brings tens of thousands of people in to the streets to protest. Only one thing inspires entrepreneurs to fly the black flag and do business anyways, the law be damned.
That thing is human rights, and you mess with them at your own peril.
In the echo chambers of Ottawa, human rights don’t enter in to the discussion when it comes to creating drug policy. Why else would they appoint one of the greatest violators of human rights our country has ever seen to lead the legalization task force?
“In the context of overwhelming evidence that drug law enforcement has failed to achieve its stated objectives, it is important that its harmful consequences be acknowledged and addressed. These consequences include … severe human rights violations, including torture, forced labour, inhuman and degrading treatment, and execution of drug offenders in a number of countries.” — Vienna Declaration of 2010
Far from keeping children safe, the legacy of prohibitionists are HIV epidemics, the undermining of public health systems, crises in the criminal justice system, the alienation from society of entire groups of people, systematic and systemic violence, massive profits to terrorist and other criminal organizations, and billions of wasted taxpayer money.
A 2010 meta-study examined over 900 research papers and remarked in The Lancet:
“Published work documents widespread abuses of human rights, which increase vulnerability to HIV infection and negatively affect delivery of HIV programmes. These abuses include denial of harm-reduction services, discriminatory access to antiretroviral therapy, abusive law enforcement practices, and coercion in the guise of treatment for drug dependence.” — Jürgens et al., 2010: 475
A report delivered to the 2016 UNGASS meeting that took place recently in New York cited 19 studies and other official reports documenting widespread abuses on human rights in the context of drug policy enforcement. A similar report cited nearly 80 other studies, and peer-reviewed research on the topic.
The systematic violation of human rights by prohibitionists is so widespread that a number of international groups have made this topic central to their mission of global harm reduction, peace, and justice.
So, in case people like Chief Weighill are reading this article and still don’t get it, I’ll spell it out clearly —prohibition on the adult use of so-called “drugs” is a violation of basic human rights, its enforcers are criminals, and its proponents their cowardly enablers.
Let that sink in for a minute.
This is no different from the police who herded 22,000 Japanese into internment camps.
Addiction ‘experts’ calling for continued prohibition are no different than other “experts” that promoted eugenics and performed forced sterilizations on thousands women throughout Alberta and British Columbia.
There is no escaping the violence implied by prohibitionist policies whether they target ethnicity, reproduction, or simply responsible adults looking to enjoy themselves.
If the legalization task force fails to deliver a bill that brings drug policy in line with the world’s understanding of what human rights are, and how miserably prohibition has failed, the government will continue to be mired by lawsuit after lawsuit. The government will continue its record-setting losing streak in court, and ruling by ruling the record of history will show prohibitionists relegated to being one of the most distasteful groups of people ever to exist.
We can do this the right way, or the hard way Mr. Blair. You’re already off to a fine start.